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Paul B. Alaback, Duncan C. Lutes
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Cataloging Information

Fuels Inventory & Monitoring
Subalpine wet spruce-fir forest, Subalpine dry spruce-fir forest

NRFSN number: 13157
Record updated:

Methods for the quantification of coarse woody debris volume and the description of spatial patterning were studied in the Tenderfoot Creek Experimental Forest, Montana. The line transect method was found to be an accurate, unbiased estimator of down debris volume (>10cm diameter) on ½ hectare fixed area plots, when perpendicular lines were used. The Fischer Photo Guide (1981) for woody fuels did not quantify large down debris as precisely as the line transect method on ¼ hectare plots. Chi-square tests found that down debris had a clumped spatial distribution in 23% of the tests. Pieces were found randomly distributed in the remaining 77% of the tests. Tests of log orientation showed evidence of clumping in 8 of 13 tests. The Paired Quadrat Variance method found no consistent scale of clumping in 24 plots of variance. Snags were found to have a clumped distribution in 37% of the tests, a random distribution in 62% of the tests and one test indicated a uniform distribution. The Variable Area Transect method accurately described snag density, however it was not successful at determining down piece density because the transect width was too narrow.


Alaback, Paul B.; Lutes, Duncan C. 1997. Methods for the quantification of coarse woody debris and an examination of its spatial patterning: a study from the Tenderfoot Creek Experimental Forest, MT. Completion Report INT-97083-RJVA. Missoula, MT: University of Montana, School of Forestry. 37 p.
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